Vegan "Grain" Basics

Basic Barley 

Barley is a fantastic addition to any table and can easily be used as an alternative to rice or quinoa.  

  • 3 cups water
  • 1 cup pearl barley, rinsed well       
  • 2 teaspoon salt (optional)       
  • Freshly ground pepper, to taste

Bring water to boil in saucepan. Add ½ teaspoon salt and the barley. Cover and lower heat and simmer until tender 30 minutes. Let stand for 5 minutes before uncovering. Add pepper and salt to taste.

Basic Quinoa 

For a satisfying alternative to your rice dishes, try quinoa.

  • 1 cup quinoa, well rinsed
  • 2 cups water
  • Salt and pepper, to taste (optional)

Bring water with quinoa to a boil. Cover and reduce heat and simmer for 15 minutes. Let stand for 5 minutes. Add salt and pepper if using.

 Variation: Toasted Quinoa

Gives quinoa a delicious roasted flavor. Toast quinoa in a dry skillet before cooking. Then cook as directed in the recipe above.

Basic Couscous 

Couscous is not a grain; this delicious recipe is actually based on pasta that is made of semolina. It's a nice change in pace from rice on certain dishes. 

  • 1 cup couscous 
  • 1 cup water 
  • ¼ teaspoon salt (optional)

In a medium saucepan bring water and salt to a boil. Add couscous, stirring quickly. Cover and remove from heat and let stand of 5 minutes. Fluff with fork before serving.


Couscous makes a great stuffing for Stuffed Portobello Mushrooms or squashes because it is moist.


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About the Author

Deborah Brutsché believes in uncomplicated meals. Through the power of simple and satisfying recipes, Deborah has created a connection for people who are on a journey to healthier living by choosing a diet that is free of animal products. She gladly embraced the challenge of giving her traditional, Southernstyle cooking a vegan twist. Deborah was influenced by her mother’s and grandmother’s family recipes.

Raising a family in Dallas and now living in Austin, Texas, her cooking is influenced by the distinctive flavors of the Southern U.S. and Mexico and new influences from her multi-cultural family.